The Best Bits for Western Pleasure

by Troy Green | April 22nd, 2011 5:13 PM | No Comments

Q. I currently have a four year old gelding that I am showing in all around classes.  This is his first year to be shown and he has a naturally level topline and is light and soft in his face.  I would like suggestions on what type of bit I should be using to show him in western pleasure.  He does have a tendency to try to “lip” the shanks, so I am thinking it needs “s” shanks or calvery shanks, but I am confused on the rest.  What are some of your favorite bits and why?  Is it worth my money to invest in a bit by one of the big name bit makers?

Thank you,
Mary G, Iowa


A. Thanks for your question, Mary. If your horse tries to get the shanks of your bit in his mouth, first make sure that it is high enough in his mouth and yes you would be better off with any type of shank that curves back. I personally use quite a few Maheu bits and there is a big difference if you get a bit by one of the big name bit makers. They are balanced better and for me, have much better feel than a generic bit…well worth the investment. If your horse is light you won’t need a large port. A nice low or medium port should be sufficient and it sounds like a grazer shank would work. What I like to do when I get a bit made is talk to Ray directly. I tell him what my horse is doing or what he’s like and he designs or picks out what works best for the job at hand. Bits are some of the most important tools of our trade. You asked about “favorites,” I’ve got too many to say but I think everyone needs at least a good snaffle, correction, port and cathedral in their arsenal and then it can grow from there!

Best of luck this season,

About the Author

Troy Green is a firm believer in the importance of a good foundation for every horse with balance, rhythm, and self-carriage being key. A good foundation equals longevity in the show pen. Troy has won over two dozen All American Quarter Horse Congress Championships in western pleasure, versatility, reining, halter and western riding, and has coached clients to over 50 Congress championships. Troy has three AQHA World Championships and two National Championships under his belt, and has won at all major futurities. He spent three years on the national board of the NSBA.

Troy Green has an extensive background working with youth and amateurs at all levels and of various disciplines. He specializes in pleasure futurity and all around horses.

Now is your chance to have your questions answered by Troy! Just submit your question using the comment section below or the email link, and he will respond to select questions in future posts.

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